290 jobs: Fife yard deal is vote of confidence in new owners and skilled workforce
News of 290 jobs at the former BiFab yard in Methil has been hailed as a vote of confidence in its new owners - and its skilled workforce .
The announcement that a contract has been signed to fabricate and load-out eight wind turbine generator (WTG) foundation jackets comes just two months after InfraStrata bought the yard, together with the site at Arnish in Lewis.
Work is now underway to get the mothballed yards back up and running to start work on the contract on July 1.
InfraStrata, owner of Harland & Wolff, will carry out the work for Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) Offshore Wind Limited.
NnG is committed to utilising the Scottish supply chain and its decision to use the yard in Methil has been welcomed by politicians and trade unions - while the company is looking forward to work starting.
Matthias Haag, project director NnG, said: “It is great news - we are delighted with the announcement.
“It has taken a while to come together, but working with all the parties involved we got there in the end.”
He said the initial task was to get the yard ready after lying dormant for so long.
He added: “Harland & Wolff have already started recruitment.
“I would expect to see an announcement on all the roles they need across the yard - we’re going to be welders scaffolders and platers, but we also need to fill financial roles in the office.
“The 290 jobs are a direct impact of the contract, but there will also be an indirect impact from the work coming to town.”
Mr Haag expects the jackets to be completed by next summer.
Trades unions Unite and GMB welcomed the announcement - but also urged the need for an industrial plan.
Joint Trade Union Secretaries Pat Rafferty (Unite Scotland) and Gary Smith (GMB Scotland) said: “This is a welcome development.
“A working yard is better than an empty yard, but it has to be the first step in a long journey of investment and contracts for our offshore wind supply chain.
“We need to take the opportunity now to work together and set out an industrial plan for Scotland’s future, it’s the vital ingredient that has been missing since devolution and we can’t succeed without it.”
Peter Grant, MP for Glenrothes, also welcomed the announcement as “a massive boost” for Methil and Levenmouth.
He added: “It’s a vote of confidence in the yard’s new management and in the skilled workforce Levenmouth can provide.
“I think it’s highly significant that Harland & Wolff’s owners are already talking optimistically about winning further contracts.
“We may be some way from the peak numbers the yard used to employ but there’s a real prospect that this first contract will lead to many more.”
John Wood, chief executive of InfraStrata, commented: “This contract paves the way for the execution and delivery of future fabrication contracts, a significant number of which are currently in advanced negotiations.
“The geographical proximity of our Methil facility to the North Sea makes it an ideal site for fabrication and load-out to wind farm projects such as this.
“More importantly, it validates our strategic vision of expanding the group’s fabrication footprint into regions that are strategically located within close proximity to major wind farm projects.”